Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital (HGB), based in Charlotte, Mich., is known for its premier Breast Care Center. Not only does the Center provide comprehensive breast health services, it is now the only hospital in mid-Michigan to offer 3-D mammography, the most cutting-edge technology available for breast cancer screening. The next closest locations for 3-D mammograms are in Grand Rapids, Detroit and Mt. Pleasant.
These 3-D mammography screenings produce better quality results for all patients, no matter if women have fatty or dense breast tissue. In fact, 3-D imaging is 41 percent more accurate at finding invasive cancer than the 2-D technology currently offered by most health care organizations.
Current technology takes the breast, a three-dimensional structure, and reduces it to a two-dimensional image. This process causes the superimposition or overlapping of images, which can create the illusion of masses in breast tissue. Three-dimensional mammography produces clear, concise images that are effectively one-millimeter slices all the way through the breast tissue.
“One of the biggest concerns we hear from women regarding annual mammograms is the frustration with false positives. When patients are called back for additional imaging because of a suspicious finding, it produces unnecessary anxiety and fear. The improved 3-D imaging reduces false alarms by 40 percent, avoiding many unnecessary diagnostic tests,” said Maureen Hillary, R.N. and chief nursing officer at HGB.
Hillary has been instrumental in developing the Breast Care Center into the comprehensive clinic the hospital has today due to her passion for
“My interest in women’s health didn’t start with breast cancer. I started my career doing regular hospital nursing. Women were arriving for care in advanced conditions; they were putting care off because they were taking care of everything and everyone else. I asked myself how I can help women see the need to take care of themselves,” said Hillary.
Hillary’s career journey led her to Baltimore, MD. where she started a program to help homeless pregnant women get health care for themselves and their babies. She then went on to start Passages, a women’s health center at Foote Hospital in Jackson, Mich. followed by Conversations for Women, an educational and preventive screening program for women at Ingham
Regional Medical Center, which is now McLaren Greater Lansing. In 2005, Hillary became the chief nursing officer for HGB.
“We had an OB [obstetrics] program and mammography — this was all women’s health was 10 years ago. This community had a small hospital, serving a small community of women and families. I wanted to build something that I knew could help make women’s lives better and increase the quality and length of their lives,” said Hillary.
Hillary started with focus groups in 2006. HGB asked faculty, patients and the surrounding community what they thought was important to offer in women’s health.
“This led to our first discussion in women’s health which was to close the OB department. We decided to let babies be delivered at some of the larger hospitals in the area where there are additional resources like a dedicated neonatal unit. HGB is small, so we couldn’t have all of that here. This was a significant change for the hospital. We chose to redirect resources to women’s health through the continuum not just OB care,” added Hillary.
The addition of 3-D mammography at HGB is part of an expansion and transition of women’s health services at the hospital. Mammography and other women’s health screenings, were previously offered at AL!VE, HGB’s health park. The new 3-D mammography unit has been installed in the Breast Care Center on the main hospital campus and all women’s health screenings have moved to that location as of August 2015.
What sets HGB’s Breast Care Center apart from others is its patient experience. Patients get their own private suite — a tranquil and comforting exam room with a private mammography room entrance — while music and videos help reduce stress and enhance well being prior to procedures. In addition, a nurse meets with each patient to review breast health history, contacts physicians; schedules follow-up studies if needed and provides support and education.
“HGB has developed a multi-disciplinary approach to care, which is remarkable in a small community. It really speaks to the vision the hospital has in providing this local care,” said Dr. David Rawson. D.O., a radiologist specializing in breast imaging. “A patient can come here, meet the radiologist, surgeon and nurses, all specializing in breast health. When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, we can act aggressively and can make those referrals at the same time.”
At HGB, it takes only a week or two from the time a woman receives an abnormal mammogram to the time of the definitive surgery. Most hospitals can extend the experience for a month or more.
“This is an unusual model because of our ability to expedite care that quickly. It’s such a fearful time for women; the more things we can handle for them, the easier the process is,” added Dr. Rawson.
To find more information about HGB’s breast health program or to schedule a mammogram, call (517) 541-5805 or visit hgbhealth.com.